Movie Review Ford v Ferrari

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When a friend invited Greg and me to see the film Ford v Ferrari with him, I happily agreed. I’m not all that into cars. However, my dad used to own a race car and I’m a fan of Christian Bale AND Matt Damon. Plus, I loved the 2013 movie Rush about the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. I knew enough to know that Ford v Ferrari is not just a movie about racing cars. It’s a story about friendship and perseverance and being who you are, which is precisely my kind of movie.

Enjoy this review of Ford v Ferrari. Mild spoilers about the story included, without giving away the ending.

Ford v Ferrari title meme

Ford v Ferrari Cast

This biographical drama stars Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Caitriona Balfe, Noah Jupe, Tracy Letts, Remo Girone, Josh Lucas and Ben Bernthal. Ford v Ferrari is directed by James Mangold. The film carries a PG-13 rating, for moderate language, and has a run time of 2 hours and 32 minutes.

Ford v Ferrari Carroll Shelby
Pro racer and car designer, Carroll Shelby

The Friendship

Professional racer Carroll Shelby (Damon) is forced into an early retirement due to a heart condition. He becomes a car salesman, however he stays active in the racing community. His friend, Ken Miles (Bales), is an extraordinary driver and car mechanic. But his reactionary tendency to tell-it-like-it-is causes most people to keep their distance. Ken runs his own mechanic shop to support his wife Mollie (Balfe) and son Peter (Jupe). His heart, however, longs to race…the faster the better.

At Ford Motors, sales are down. Henry Ford II (Letts) gathers his staff for a brainstorming session. One of his underlings, Lee Iacocca (Bernthal) pitches an idea. He suggests that race cars, like the Italian made Ferrari, are the sexiest cars. If Ford could compete and win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, it would change the future of the company.

Initially Ford attempts to buy the struggling Ferrari company, with Enzo Ferrari (Girone) retaining control of the racing division. When Ferrari refuses the offer, and insults Ford in the process, Henry Ford decides to start his own racing division.

Lee Iacocca approaches Shelby, the only American to ever win at Le Mans, to head up designing and testing cars for the new Ford racing division. Shelby agrees and immediately recruits his friend Ken Miles, the best driver he knows.

Ford v Ferrari Mollie and Ken
Mollie and Ken Miles
Ford v Ferrari Ken and Peter
Ken Miles and son Peter

The Ford Racing Division

As the first race arrives, bringing the opportunity to try out the modified car, Ford vice president Leo Bebee (Lucas) pulls Shelby aside. Miles’ unpredictable behavior concerns him. Bebee fears Miles won’t represent the company well. Against Shelby’s advice, Bebee replaces Miles with another driver. Ford loses the race.

Ken Miles rejoins the team, at Shelby’s insistence, however Bebee constantly seeks to block him as a driver. In a gutsy move, Shelby puts Ford into one of the cars and shows him the power and danger involved, driving a race car. The ploy works. Shelby persuades Henry Ford II to allow Miles to drive. It’s the only way they have a chance of winning the Le Mans.

Shelby and Miles and their team work long hours perfecting the car, before the big race. Ford agrees to let Miles drive in Le Mans, if he wins the Daytona. Against tough competition and a second Ford car entered by Bebee, Miles secures the win…and the chance to race at Le Mans.

Both Ford and Ferrari attend the race in France. It’s a grueling 24 hours of racing that includes nighttime driving and rainy weather. Ferrari typically wins the race. Ford places three cars in the competition, with Miles driving one. Bebee attends the race as well and he’s determined to see Miles fail.

It’s the race of a lifetime, with high stakes and even higher personal ambitions and desires on the line. It truly is Ford v Ferrari. Who will win?

Ford v Ferrari Shelby and Miles
Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles

Ford v Ferrari Racing

My Thoughts on Ford v Ferrari

I loved this film. My dad came to mind often, as he loved the whole racing scene. Beyond the thrill of watching the intense race scenes and learning a great deal about building a better car, I enjoyed the friendship portrayed between Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles.

I can’t say enough good things about the actors playing those roles. The onscreen chemistry between them was authentic. Matt Damon possesses the ability to take on any role and bring his natural charm to the part. And Christian Bale! From gaining weight to play Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice, to losing 70 pounds to play Ken Miles, Bale gives his all to a performance. He even took race driving lessons at the Bondurant High Performance Driving School. Truthfully, Bale dominates this film, in a very good way. I adored Ken Miles and his ability to remain true to who he was, even when others sought to change him or dismiss him.

Ford v Ferrari is an excellent movie about the best things in life…doing what you love, being who you are and traveling through life with good people by your side. When you get to take part of the journey in cars that can reach speeds of 200+ MPH, well that just sweetens the experience for some!

Ford v Ferrari Ken Miles
Ford v Ferrari’s Ken Miles, excellently portrayed by Christian Bale.

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Doctor Sleep Movie Review

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The 1980 movie The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson as writer Jack Torrance, is considered a classic. Who can forget the dark events that took place in the isolated Overlook Hotel?  Jack, his wife and young son Danny stayed there alone as caretakers of the property. Only, there weren’t really alone. The strange happenings in the hotel slowly drove Jack to insanity and violence. Danny, gifted with “the shining”, uses his intuitive abilities to reach out for help, beyond the snow bound property.

If you’ve seen The Shining, you know it doesn’t end well for Jack.

Doctor Sleep is the long awaited sequel to the story that began in the Overlook Hotel. Danny…Dan…is grown. However the events from his childhood greatly impacted the adult he grew into.

Check out this Doctor Sleep movie review, for a look at the continuation of The  Shining story. Mild spoilers included. The movie’s ending is not revealed.

Doctor Sleep Title Meme

Doctor Sleep Cast

This horror/thriller stars Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Zahn McClarnon, Zackary Momoh, Carl Lumbly, Alex Essoe and Jocelin Donahue. Mike Flanagan directed and wrote the screenplay, based on the novel Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King. Doctor Sleep carries a well deserved R rating, for violence, language, nudity and intense scenes, and has a run time of 2 hours and 32 minutes.

Danny Torrance grows up
Danny Torrance grows up.

Overcoming a Difficult Childhood

Doctor Sleep opens with flashbacks to Danny’s traumatic winter at Overlook Hotel. Danny (McGregor) and his mother Wendy (Essoe) attempt to move on with their lives, settling in Florida where it never snows. Danny does not speak for months until he receives a visit, in spirit, from Dick Hallorann (Lumby). Hallorann offers Danny techniques for containing his fear. Dick, who befriended Danny at the Overlook and recognized his shining, tells the troubled boy to mentally build boxes to trap the ghosts who bother him.

Danny grows from troubled boy into troubled man. Alcoholism, and the tendency to drift from town to town in an attempt to shake the past, bring him to New Hampshire. In a small town there he finds people who encourage him, offer him work and help him enroll in Alcoholics Anonymous.

As he heals, Dan works nights in a hospice unit with the cat Azzie, who instinctively goes to the rooms of those about to die. Dan uses his intuitive gift to bring comfort and peace to the the dying in their final moments, earning him the nickname of Doctor Sleep.

Doctor Sleep Movie Review Dan and Dick
Dan as Doctor Sleep and his friend in spirit, Dick Hallorann.

Abra Shines

During his years in New Hampshire, Dan connects with an unseen presence who leaves messages for him on his blackboard wall. Abra (Curran) is a young teen girl with powerful psychic abilities that she hides from her parents (played by Momoh and Donahue) . She reaches out with her mind to find Dan and alert him to group of people who are murdering children gifted with the shining.

Members of The Knot are energy vampires who have lived for centuries by feeding on the “steam” or shine of gifted youth. Led by Rose the Hat (Ferguson) and Crow Daddy (McClarnon) the group comes into Abra’s energetic awareness when they kidnap and kill a boy with the shining. Horrified, Abra locates Dan and meets with him in person. She asks for his help finding the baseball glove of the murdered boy so that she can use it to track The Knot and stop them from harming anyone else.

However, The Knot is aware of Abra too and they are drawn to her incredible gift.

The hunters become the hunted. And Dan finds he must return to where his horrors began as a child, if he is to save Abra and others like her.

Doctor Sleep Movie Review Abra and Rose
Abra and Rose the Hat in Doctor Sleep.

My Thoughts on Doctor Sleep

I recently watched The Shining again, in preparation for this film. Other than seeing a couple of previews, I avoided learning anything about the sequel. From the brief movie trailers that I saw, I knew the story continued with Danny as a grown man.

It’s difficult to write a sequel to a classic. However, I feel that Mike Flanagan, well known for the recent remake of The Haunting of Hill House, created an excellent follow up film.

Rather than focusing on ghosts and jump scares, Flanagan examines the human element. He shows us how Danny is affected by post traumatic stress syndrome and dwells in the shadow of a problematic, albeit deceased, parent. In addition Flanagan reveals the difficulties caused by dulling pain with alcohol  and carrying the burden of living with a unique gift.

Be warned, however. There are extremely intense scenes in this film. One in particular is excruciatingly painful to watch and impacts the viewer with an emotional punch to the gut.

Redrum
A familiar word from Danny’s past.

The Message for Me

I like the ties to The Shining, which brings continuity to the story. And I appreciate the deeper message in Doctor Sleep, which it this: shine.

As an intuitive who hid my abilities for many years, I identify with Abra. Her gifts are more powerful than mine. However, I understand her desire to hide what she can do. I understand her hope that others think her normal.

It does me good to see Abra accept who she is in the film and embrace her gifts. That’s a journey I’ve taken as well. I accept who I am. And I embrace my gifts. When Dan tells Abra to shine, as herself, I take those words to heart too.

Isn’t that a message for all of us? Shine. Accept who you are. Embrace your gifts, whatever they are. How amazing to receive this encouragement in a Stephen King thriller. Then again, this King of Horror is a master storyteller…and a keen and thoughtful observer of humanity.

He's back...
Ewan McGregor is Doctor Sleep.

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Brittany Runs a Marathon Movie Review

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I love indie films. So although I knew very little about the Amazon Original Brittany Runs a Marathon, when my daughter invited me to go watch it with her, I happily agreed. I expected a comedy, with an inspirational twist. It was that…and so much more.

Elissa and I met at Bookhouse Cinema, Joplin’s wonderful indie movie theater, for some amazing vegan food before the film.

This is a spoiler free review of Brittany Runs a Marathon, meaning I’ll discuss key plot points but I won’t give away the ending or discuss every detail.

Brittany Runs a Marathon title meme

Brittany Runs a Marathon Cast

This comedy/drama stars Jillian Bell, Alice Lee, Patch Darragh, Michaela Watkins, Micah Stock and Utkarsh Ambudkar. Paul Downs Colaizzo wrote and directed Brittany Runs a Marathon. Events in the life of his friend, Brittany O’Neill, inspired the story. The film carries an R rating, for language and adult themes, and has a run time of 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Meet Brittany

Brittany (Bell) lives and works in New York City. In her mid twenties, Brittany feels her life isn’t going anywhere. Her friend and roommate Gretchen (Lee) has a boyfriend and a great job and a life plan that relies heavily on social media.

However, Brittany works in a low paying job and her social life consists primarily of late night bar hopping and brief encounters that can’t in any way be called romantic. Struggling to find motivation to even get out of bed in the mornings, Brittany seeks medical help.

She hopes for an Adderall prescription. But her Yelp recommended doctor (Darragh) surprises her. He prescribes getting healthy by eating better, drinking less alcohol and exercising regularly.

Brittany’s first attempts at exercise fail. The gym proves too costly and she suits up for a run but barely makes it out the door before giving up. Her fit upstairs neighbor, Catherine (Watkins), encourages Brittany to try again…taking baby steps…and invites her to join a Saturday morning running club.

Brittany manages to run for one block. However, when Saturday morning arrives, she joins the running club, determined to do better.

Brittany Runs a Marathon First Steps
Brittany Runs a Marathon – First steps

Training for a Marathon

Among the club members, Brittany connects with Seth (Stock), a newbie runner like her. They wheeze and commiserate with each other as they bring up the rear of the pack. Something shifts in Brittany though as she completes a two mile run. Running gives her direction and purpose and a way to change her health. She eats better. Drinks water rather than wine. And she stops the late night partying.

Running with Catherine and Seth becomes a weekly practice. The three friends set a huge goal: run the New York City Marathon.

They have one year to train. Brittany commits to this new chapter in her life and realizes the cost, literally, of training.  To pay for the gym membership she takes a second job, dog sitting for the wealthy. At her first assignment she meets Jern (Ambudkar), a quirky, artistic young man who works the night shift dog sitting in the same house. Jern annoys her…initially. However as Brittany’s life continues to shift the two declare a truce and a relationship blossoms between them.

As the months count down toward the marathon, Brittany transforms. The weight loss is noticeable and she runs with greater ease and endurance. It’s the inner changes though that create the different outer reality. And it’s the old, inner hurts and insecurities, working themselves out, that create new challenges. Brittany’s greatest obstacle to the life she desires is herself. Will she be there at the marathon starting line…or will she take herself out of the race before it ever starts?

Brittany Runs a Marathon Training
Brittany Runs a Marathon – Training with Seth

My Thoughts on Brittany Runs a Marathon

I enjoyed this fun and thought provoking film. The health aspect of the story line drew me in immediately. I appreciated the no meds approach to improved health. Brittany took responsibility…or not…for her own health and I loved that. She made choices about food, drinking, exercise and partying. And she either benefited or suffered as a result.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is so much more than a health transformation story. The real changes began to occur within first, and that’s the element that touched me deeply. Brittany had more than health issues to work through. Her excess weight was a way of hiding who she really was. She also hid behind a sarcastic sense of humor and resigned herself to the role of flatterer in her friendships. At her core, she didn’t accept herself. Brittany’s self criticism became the lens through which she viewed others and life.

As much as I enjoyed watching Brittany’s health improve, I strongly appreciated seeing the deeper transformations that occurred. And I applauded the important topics that the film touched upon including self worth, toxic relationships and how the world perceives those who carry extra weight.

By the end of the film, which does contain many laugh out loud moments, I found my eyes full of tears and my heart charged with the desire to stand up and cheer. For me, that makes Brittany Runs a Marathon a great film, worthy of recommendation.

Brittany Runs a Marathon Running
Jillan Bell lost 40 pounds during the making of the movie, mirroring her character’s improved health.

Catch Brittany Runs a Marathon at your local theater or indie movie house, or see it beginning November 22 on Amazon Prime Video.

Check out my recent movie reviews:

Joker

Rocketman

Yesterday

 

Brittany Runs a Marathon Soundtrack. Click on photo to order.

Brittany Runs a Marathon Soundtrack

 

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Downton Abbey Movie Review

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I arrived to the Downton Abbey party late. When the series originally aired, from 2010 – 2015, I watched episodes in a hit or miss fashion. Mostly miss, I confess. However, as news of a feature movie began to fill my Google newsfeed, I decided to watch the entire series, beginning with season one, episode one.

I’m so glad I did!

I quickly fell in love with the period drama, set in the early 20th century. Downton Abbey is home to the Crawley Family…and their servants. The series explores the lives of the inhabitants of the big country estate, upstairs and downstairs, and the intriguing way that they interact.

After spending the summer catching up on the series, I found myself grateful that a movie was imminent. Otherwise, sadness over the end of an excellent story would have set in. For my mother’s birthday this week, my sister Linda and I took her to see Downton Abbey and then out to dinner.

Movie Review Downton Abbey Title Meme

Downton Abbey Cast

Downton Abbey features a very large ensemble cast including Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leach, Joanne Froggett, Imelda Staunton, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Goode, Robert James-Collier, Hugh Bonneville, Sophie McShera, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Phyllis Logan, Penelope Wilton, Michael Fox, Lesley Nicol, Harry Hadden Paton, Kevin Doyle, Geraldine James and Simon Jones.

The drama, written and produced by Julian Fellowes, is directed by Michael Engler. Downton Abbey carries a PG rating, for mild sexuality, and has a run time of 2 hours and 2 minutes.

The TV series concludes in January of 1926. The movie joins the Crawley Family and their staff in the summer of 1927.

Downton Abbey Carson
Carson returns to Downton Abbey.

A Royal Visit to Downton Abbey

The movie begins with an exciting announcement. King George V (Jones) and Queen Mary (James) will spend a night at Downton Abbey, during their tour of Yorkshire. While Robert, the Earl of Grantham (Bonneville), and Lady Cora (McGovern) are honored, there are burdens that accompany such a visit.

The whole household comes together to prepare for the king and queen’s arrival.

Below stairs, Mrs. Hughes (Logan) directs the housemaids to make sure everything in the grand home sparkles. Mrs. Patmore (Nicol), the cook, and Daisy (McShera), her apprentice, plan the menus and prepare the kitchen. Mr. Molesley (Doyle), beyond excited, appears at the house, ready to don a livery again to help serve during meals.

Upstairs, Robert and Cora feel proud, and a bit anxious, as they anticipate the visit. Their elder daughter Mary (Dockery), fearing head butler Thomas (James-Collier) isn’t adequate for the tasks ahead, asks for help. Former head butler Carson (Carter) comes out of retirement to take charge of the household and offer expert guidance.

Head Footman Andy
Head Footman Andy (Fox) winds the clock.
Downton Abbey Kitchen
Mrs. Patmore and Daisy prepare the kitchen.

Upstairs Challenges

As the royal visit draws near, challenges arise.

A stranger in the village questions son-in-law Tom (Leach), whose loyalties seem under suspicion due to his Irish Republic roots.

The Dowager Countess (Smith) learns that her estranged kinswoman Lady Bagshaw (Staunton) will visit Downton Abbey as a Lady in Waiting for the queen. An old feud between them needs to be settled. Cousin Isobel (Wilton) is eager to help.

Second daughter Edith (Carmichael) and her husband Bertie (Hadden-Paton) arrive from their estate to support the family. However, Edith’s formal gown is a disaster and the king makes a difficult request of Bertie.

Mary’s husband Henry (Goode), away on a visit to America, is missing the whole event.

Tom and Lady Bagshaw
Tom and Lady Bagshaw.
Downton Abbey Movie Review
Edith and Bertie arrive.

Downstairs Challenges

The servants encounter their share of challenges as well. Thomas does not appreciate Carson’s return or the temporary demotion from head butler. And the entire staff is discouraged to learn that the king and queen travel with their own chef and servants. Downton Abbey staff will not assist during the visit at all.

Not to be denied this once in a lifetime opportunity, Anna (Froggatt) and Mr. Bates (Coyle) come up with a plan that involves secrecy and hilarious shenanigans.

During the course of the royal visit, small treasures mysteriously disappear from the house. Anna suspects the thief is one of the queen’s maids.

And Tom, the widowed husband of Lady Sybil, feels drawn to Lady Bagshaw’s maid, Lucy (Middleton). The attraction is mutual.

The joys, the challenges, the growth of all those who reside in the house…this is what life at Downton Abbey is all about.

Lady Cora and her daughters
Lady Cora and her daughters, Edith and Mary.
Downton Abbey Movie Review Violet
The Dowager Countess, Violet, portayed with delightfully sarcasm by Maggie Smith.

My Thoughts about Downton Abbey, the Movie

As a huge fan of the series, I loved the movie. All the characters returned for this feature film, and the story picked right up from where it left off in the series. My sister has not seen the series…yet…and she too enjoyed the film. It does well enough as a stand alone movie, although familiarity with the characters and their backstories is a definite plus.

Because, we love the Crawleys. We love their servants who dedicate themselves to the household. And, we love the huge, graceful home that is as much a character in the story as the people who inhabit it.

I think part of my fascination with Downton Abbey is the peek into a way of life that was vital to England and Scotland. The historical elements intrigue me as well, and caused me to fact check after each episode of the series.

And I’ve always been drawn to big old houses. They are stunningly beautiful…and so difficult and costly to maintain. The fictional Crawley’s are typically a step or two away from losing their home. Their struggles are a theme that winds through the story. Unfortunately that was a harsh reality for many actual families in the years following World War I. Maintaining those properties continues to challenge current estate owners today.

Downton Abbey Ballroom
The  movie sets, costumes and music are amazing.

More to Come

I enjoyed seeing how the characters I came to love in the series have grown, in a movie rich with lavish details. I smiled over every little nod toward the six seasons on television, and applauded every bit of happiness achieved by those who sought to be who they truly are.

It’s a beautifully done film that completely satisfies the Downton Abbey fan…and perhaps inspires a new group of people to check out the series.

I’ve read that if this first feature film does well…and it’s off to a great start…then more movies will follow. I sure hope so! I’ll never tire of Downton Abbey and the people who live there.

Downton Abbey's inhabitants
The people who live, love and struggle at Downton Abbey.

Check out Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey where the series and movie were filmed.

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Movie Review: Rocketman

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While still enjoying the film Bohemian Rhapsody at the theater, the preview of an upcoming movie intrigued me as well.

Another music biopic, Rocketman tells singer Elton John’s story. Every time I saw the preview, I felt drawn to this powerful film.

Movie Review Rocketman

 Rocketman Cast

Rocketman stars Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Gemma Jones, Steven Mackintosh, Matthew Illesley and Kit Connor. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, Rocketman carries an R rating for moderate language, the portrayal of drug and alcohol use and moderate sexuality. It has a run time of 2 hours and 1 minute.

The Early Years

The film alternates between the present day, where Elton John (Egerton) appears to be in a group counseling session, and the past. The story is woven together as the present day singer recounts his childhood and rise to stardom.

Born Reginald Dwight, Reggie (Illesley) is a quiet child raised by troubled parents. His mostly absent father, Stanley (Mackintosh), passes his appreciation of music on to his young son. However, he cannot connect with Reggie emotionally. In fact, he refuses to hug his son or express love in any way.

Reggie’s mother Sheila (Howard) is cold, distant and as hungry as her son, for love. She seeks affection outside her home, which ultimately destroys the marriage. The real champion in the lonely boy’s life is his grandmother (Jones). When Reggie shows musical talent, she encourages him to play the piano and to pursue his passion.

Reggie’s desire to play and sing leads him to the Royal Academy of Music. As he enters his teen years (Connor), he begins performing in local pubs and forms a band called Bluesology.

Movie Review Rocketman

Movie Review Rocketman

Elton John is Born

As a young adult, Reggie and Bluesology are hired as a backup band for an American jazz band touring England. One of the singers gives the serious young man advice, to become famous: change his name, write his own songs, “kill” the old Reggie and become the person he is meant to be.

Inspired, Reggie adopts the name Elton John. He shares a few early songs with a studio, receiving moderate praise and interest. He acquires a manager who partners him with songwriter Bernie Taupin (Bell). The two become best friends and collaborators. Bernie writes song lyrics while Elton produces the melodies.

Their song, Your Song, lands them a performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Elton overcomes a major case of the nerves to give an exceptional performance that ignites the audience and captures the attention of manager John Reid (Madden).

Movie Review Rocketman

Movie Review Rocketman

The Rise and Fall of a Rocketman

As Elton attempts to shed his old persona, and become a showman, his manager John shifts from showing romantic interest in the performer to openly manipulating him.

Once again denied the love that he craves, Elton throws himself into his performances. His costumes become more and more outlandish, to the delight of his audiences. In front of a crowd Elton is all smiles and brilliant show. Behind the scenes, his pain and loneliness drive him to drugs, alcohol and anger.

His long time friend and musical partner leaves. Elton truly finds himself alone and depressed, in the midst of incredible fame, and fortune, and people who want from him but have nothing to offer in return.

The past and the present day at last align, as Elton concludes his story. Realizing his life is spiraling downward, he walks away from a sold out concert and seeks help.

Can his career survive, he wonders, if he is sober and clean and more…ordinary?

Movie Review Rocketman

My Thoughts on Rocketman

Rocketman is a beautiful, clever musical, skillfully weaving Elton’s songs throughout the movie. They tell his story in illuminating ways, showing snapshots of who he was at different times in his life.

I’ve long been a fan of Elton John. His songs are an integral part of my storyline. Hearing them I can recount the events in my own life as his tunes topped the charts. I know his songs. However, the film taught me a great deal that I did not know about the man.

Elton’s story is overshadowed with sadness. It’s difficult for me to understand how love can be withheld from a child. In my heart it feels so wrong. And yet, it is possible that Elton’s early years birthed more than an extraordinary performer who wowed audiences. His pain gave incredible depth to his music. He truly is a musical genius. And although I teared up many times during this film, I experienced a deep appreciation for the way that he endured as he sought to be who he is.

The end credits are worth staying for. Actual photos and text tell the rest of Elton’s story, bringing us to the actual present day.

The tagline for Rocketman is an apt one.

“The only way to tell his story is to live his fantasy.”

What a moving way to get to know the heart of this man.

Movie Review Rocketman

 

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Movie Review: Avengers Endgame

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This is a SPOILER FREE review.

After waiting a year, to see what happened in the aftermath of the snap in Avengers Infinity War, I joined a record number of people this weekend, to see Avengers Endgame.

My sister Linda joined me. We arrived at the theater an hour before showtime, and good thing we did. The line of eager Avenger fans stretched around the interior of the lobby, by the time the doors to our theater room opened. We watched this epic film with a lively and responsive crowd.

Highly anticipated, Avengers Endgame broke box office records this weekend. I understand that. This movie, number 22 in the series, is the conclusion to a story that began with Iron Man in 2008.

Captivated by Iron Man 11 years ago, and then the rest of the movies in the Marvel Universe, I’ve followed this story as it’s unfolded, film by film. How exciting to be present for the endgame.

The studio kept the storyline a closely guarded secret, so that movie goers could experience the film without preformed opinions. I appreciated that. To honor their intention, this review reveals very little about the plot and certainly nothing about the ending.

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

Avengers Endgame Cast and Crew

This sci-fi, adventure film has a large ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson and Karen Gillan. Josh Brolin, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel provide voice work.

There are many other actors involved in the movie and poignant cameos. For a full list, go HERE.

Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo returned to direct. Avengers Endgame carries a PG-13 rating, for mild language, moderate violence and sequences of intense action, and has a run time of 3 hours and 1 minute. Realistically, by the time you watch the previews and stay through the end credits, you’ve invested more like 3 hours and 30 minutes in this film.

As the start time grew closer, there was an exodus to the nearby restrooms. No one wanted to leave during the movie!

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

Life After the Snap

Endgame begins 22 days after the highly emotional ending portrayed in Infinity War. Using the Infinity Stones set within the gauntlet, Thanos (voiced by Brolin) snapped his fingers and half of the population, across the universe, dissolved away. Family and friends were separated in the snap. More than half of the Avengers disappeared too.

After the snap, the remaining heroes gather together:  Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson), Rocket the Raccoon (voiced by Cooper) and War Machine (Cheadle). Iron Man (Downey Jr.) and Nebula (Gillan) are rescued by Captain Marvel (Larson), after being stranded in space, and returned to Earth.

From various locations throughout the galaxy, the stragglers appear: Thor (Hemsworth), Hulk ( Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Renner) and Ant-Man (Rudd). It’s a somber group that gathers. The world has changed. The universe has changed. A sense of failure hangs over each Avenger. However, determination fuels their plans.

Black Widow, who also goes by the name Natasha, states the Avengers’ intention well.

“Even if there’s a small chance, we owe this to everybody who’s not in this room.”

This group, united by purpose and ingenuity and various abilities, goes all in to undo what Thanos has done and bring back those they have lost.

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

My Reactions to Avengers Endgame

This movie did not disappoint.

I avoided reading anything about the film or storyline, prior to watching the movie, and you should too. Additionally, it feels right not to share any more about the plot, than what I have. This is a movie that needs to be experienced, on the big screen in a darkened theater. There the real world slips away and the story unfolds scene by scene.

As one who has watched the films leading to this conclusion, I felt all the powerful emotions that accompany an ending. It’s a grand finale though, and thoroughly satisfying.

I loved being part of the crowd that watched with me. People cheered and laughed and clapped. They cried as well, for all their own reasons. At the end we all applauded again, together, and then sat quietly through the credits.

Marvel is well known for including additional scenes during the end credits, typically at the midway point and then at the very end. Not so for Avengers Endgame. However, for the ardent fan there is reason enough to stay. I enjoyed the mid credit extras, and I’m still thinking about the audio clip at the very end.

I found it a fitting final moment.

The Endgame

Well done, all those involved in this monumental story. I’ve learned about courage, sacrifice, acceptance, love and being exactly who I am meant to be.

And so ends Phase III in the Marvel Universe. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Phase IV. Every ending signals a new beginning.

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

If you need a refresher before watching Avengers Endgame, you can rent Avengers Infinity War.

 

 

 

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Movie Review: Five Feet Apart

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My granddaughter Aubrey spent the night with me Saturday. We enjoyed girl time coloring, watching Netflix and chatting. Sunday morning, when asked what she wanted to do before returning home, Aubrey suggested a movie at the theater.

I loved that idea! Aubrey and I share an appreciation for movies. We enjoy the entertainment aspect, however we also perceive the deeper messages within each film. I allowed my granddaughter to select the movie.

This 10 year old now prefers live action films over animation, a sure sign she is nearing her teens. And her matinee choice certainly demonstrated that. After scanning a couple of reviews, Aubrey chose the teen romance, Five Feet Apart.

Movie Review Five Feet Apart

Five Feet Apart Cast

This drama romance stars Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Moises Arias, Kimberly Hebert Gregory, Claire Forlani, Emily Baldoni and Gary Weeks. Directed by Justin Baldoni, Five Feet Apart is based on the book by the same title, written by Mikki Daughtry, Rachel Lippincott and Tobias Iaconis. The film carries a PG-13 rating, for mature themes and mild language, and has a run time of 1 hour and 56 minutes.

Movie Review Five Feet Apart

Five Feet Apart Storyline

Stella (Richardson) enjoys being with her friends and creating videos to share on social media. She seems to be a typical teenage girl. However, Stella has cystic fibrosis, a genetic life threatening condition that makes breathing difficult and requires frequent stays in the hospital.

Stella’s best friend, Poe (Arias) also has CF. The two met in the hospital as children. They encourage each other through the daily routines, meds and procedures, and both are on the wait list for lung transplants.

Nurse Barb (Gregory) watches over her CF patients with the fierceness of a mother and the compassion of one who has cared for many sick children over the years.

Spending so much time in the hospital, it is perhaps inevitable that Stella creates deep friendships with other CF kids…and that she falls in love with a young man who shares her disease.

Movie Review Five Feet Apart

Will Meets Stella

Will (Sprouse) not only has cystic fibrosis, he carries a bacterial infection in his lungs that makes him ineligible for a lung transplant. During his hospital stay he undergoes experimental treatments in an attempt to clear the bacteria from his lungs. Charming and artistic, Will covers feelings of hopelessness and resignation with humor and nonchalance. He is intrigued by Stella, who long ago took charge of her own health routines and meds schedule. Will gets to know Stella by watching all of her online videos that detail what life with CF is like.

Stella, however, is initially unimpressed with Will. His lack of interest in improving his health baffles and then frustrates her. With Poe working as a mediator between them, Will and Stella gradually become friends. As Stella creates a strict health schedule for Will, and joins him via facetime chats for treatments, their friendship deepens into something more.

Movie Review Five Feet Apart

Five Feet Apart

Cystic fibrosis patients must observe very strict rules of engagement with each other. The infection in one patient’s lungs can make another CF patient very sick or even cause death. Precautions are necessary. The patients can be around family or healthy friends. However, when in the presence of another CF individual each person must wear gloves, a mask and remain six feet apart at all times.

Because of that rule, Stella and Poe have never hugged or touched each other during their long friendship. As Will and Stella develop feelings for each other they long to hold hands, embrace or share a kiss. Nurse Barb goes on alert when she realizes the teens have fallen in love. She vows not to lose a patient on her watch, and strongly discourages the relationship.

But the teens have experienced enough loss in their short lives. Will’s father left when his infant son was diagnosed with CF. His mother (Forlani) uses all the resources she has to help her son survive. And yet she is emotionally cool and distant, perhaps as a protective measure.

Stella’s mother (Baldoni) and father (Weeks) suffered the heartbreak of losing another daughter, not through cystic fibrosis but because of a tragic accident. That loss and Stella’s illness strains their marriage to the breaking point. They have recently divorced.

Grieving her sister still, and her parents’ breakup, Stella decides life has robbed her of enough. It’s time to take something back. She and Will shorten the distance between them to five feet…five feet apart as determined by a pool stick. Keeping their growing relationship hidden from their parents and Nurse Barb, Stella and Will share their thoughts and feelings about life, illness and death. And they discover that when life keeps you apart, you fight for every inch.

Movie Review Five Feet Apart

My Thoughts on Five Feet Apart

This is a sweet, tender movie that deals with very difficult subjects. I’m glad Aubrey selected this film and that we watched it together. Parts of it are heart wrenching as the characters deal with typical teenage angst plus the heaviness of a serious, life robbing disease.

Five Feet Apart is, over all, an uplifting and hopeful film, with occasional challenges added that create edginess and concern about the outcome. After watching the film, I read that cystic fibrosis patient Claire Wineland worked as a consultant on the film, coaching the young actors in their roles. Richardson, Sprouse and Arias give authentic and moving portrayals of CF patients, thanks to Claire. Sadly, she died in September 2018, suffering a stroke after a successful lung transplant.

While there are moments of hilarity and joy, this is a movie that tugs on the heart emotionally. Aubrey told me after the credits rolled that only two films have made her cry. One was A Dog’s Life. The second film is Five Feet Apart. A few years ago, I would have avoided a movie like this one. Allowing my heart to feel strong emotions and my eyes to fill with sympathetic tears was good for me.

Conversations Around the Movie

In the car I took the opportunity to discuss the film and its themes of life, death, illness, friendship and love with my granddaughter. Aubrey shared her thoughts openly and beautifully and asked questions about cystic fibrosis. We discussed the importance of living life to the fullest, now, and enjoying every moment. And we talked about big topics such as gratitude, anger, sacrifice and acceptance.

Movies are what one makes them to be. They offer entertainment, for sure. And for the open heart and mind, they offer so much more. Aubrey and I left the theater with fresh appreciation for life and love and hope.

Order the book that the move is based upon, by clicking on the photo below:

 

 

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Movie Review: Captain Marvel

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Captain Marvel released as the 21st film offered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The superhero movies are all based on characters that appear in Marvel Comics. This body of work, which began in 2007 and has 10 more films in production, is the highest grossing film franchise of all time.

I’ve seen every film, with the exception of Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is on my watch list. I love superhero movies, having immersed myself in Marvel and DC comics as a young girl. Watching these larger than life characters on the big screen delights the child in me.

My sister Linda and I caught Captain Marvel yesterday, during a matinee showing.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel Cast

This action adventure film stars Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg and Akira Akbar. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck share directing credit. Captain Marvel carries a PG-13 rating, for mild language and intense action scenes, and has a run time of 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

From Kree to Earth

In 1995, on the Kree Empire planet of Hala, Starforce member Vers (Larson) awakes from a nightmare. The recurring dream involves watching an older woman shot.

Troubled, Vers works through her unsettled state by sparring with her mentor and commander, Yon-Rogg (Law). He warns her that she must learn to control her emotions, as they trigger her extraordinary abilities. Vers later meets with an artificial intelligence called the Supreme Intelligence (Bening), who also urges her to keep her emotions in check. The Supreme Intelligence sends Vers on her first mission, to rescue an undercover spy.

The rescue attempt goes awry and Vers is abducted by the Skrull, a race of shapeshifters who are at war with the Kree. Talos (Mendelsohn), a Skrull leader, interrogates Vers, sorting through her memories. He focuses in on the nightmares and the woman who is fatally shot.

Angered, Vers surges energy through her bound hands, breaking free. She easily overpowers every Skrull on the ship and escapes on a pod, falling toward Planet Earth. Vers’ pod disintegrates as it enters the atmosphere, and she plummets, falling through the roof of a Blockbuster Video Store.

S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury (Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Gregg) investigate. They quickly learn there’s more to the case than a woman breaking into a store. The Skrull, who can appear as anyone they see, arrive on Earth as well.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Who is Vers?

Pursued by Talos, Vers teams up with Fury to discover why Earth is targeted by the Skrull. Vers learns she lived another life on Earth, that of a test pilot, Carol Danvers. She supposedly died six years earlier, while flying an experimental aircraft with a light speed engine. The person who designed the engine, Wendy Lawson (also Bening) is the woman from Vers’ nightmares.

Carol meets with her former best friend, Maria (Lynch), another test pilot. Maria and her spirited young daughter Monica (Akbar) help Carol piece together the fragments of her past. Talos tracks Fury and Carol to Maria’s house. Rather than attacking her, he tells Carol the rest of her story….and she remembers. The experimental aircraft, carrying her and Wendy, was shot down. Her commander, Yon-Rogg, killed Wendy.

Rather than allow the Kree to take the light speed engine, Carol destroyed the aircraft. The exploding energy core that powered the engine transformed Carol and wiped her memory. Her new name, Vers, came from her broken dog tag. Yon-Rogg took her back to Kree, telling Carol it was her home world.

Carol’s whole universe is upended. She remembers who she is…or was, rather, since she is a new being, with incredible power. The people who appeared as enemies are allies instead. And the one who trained her, mentored her, lied to her and used her. Both groups seek Wendy’s lab and a remarkable source of power hidden there. Carol must discover who she is now, where she belongs, and how to use the abilities she’s been given.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

My Thoughts About Captain Marvel

This film is an excellent installment in the BIG unfolding story in the Marvel Universe. I loved it. Captain Marvel, who never actually goes by that name, plays a key role in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame film that releases next month.

Carol’s story is a powerful one, and not just because she single handedly ended a long war between alien races. She is powerful because every time she gets knocked down, every time someone questions her abilities, she gets up. She gets up and proves her strength and capabilities to herself first, and then to others. Captain Marvel, with its strong and likable female lead, is a great movie to take young daughters and granddaughters to.

Jackson and Gregg are digitally de-aged in this film, to play their characters at the proper age…and it works. I enjoyed learning more about Nick Fury especially, including how he comes to wear an eye patch. And as with all Marvel films, there is ample humor scattered strategically throughout the storyline. Goose, a cat that Fury and Carol pick up, steals every scene she is in…and plays a small but significant role in the film.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Ready for Avengers: Endgame

With Captain Marvel watched, and Ant-Man and the Wasp in the queue, I’m ready for the biggest film yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The last Avenger film, Infinity War, shocked audiences and left us all hanging. Theories and speculations abound about the upcoming film, however, I’m avoiding all that. Instead, I’ll be there in the theater when Endgame premieres, watching the conclusion to this 12 year long epic tale.

Stan Lee, the primary creative leader of the Marvel Universe, recently passed away. In each Marvel film, he plays a small part, a cameo role. He filmed his cameo in Captain Marvel before his death.

At the beginning of Marvel films, the opening sequence features various Avenger characters. For Captain Marvel, scenes of Stan’s past cameos replace the superheroes. The words THANK YOU STAN appear across the screen.

Thank you indeed, Stan Lee, for creating such an expansive universe, full of intriguing and inspiring characters. What a legacy you created.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Check out my list of MCU films, in chronological order, story wise.

Catch Avengers: Infinity War HERE before Endgame releases in April.

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Movie Review: Vice

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Seeing Vice, the biopic featuring former Vice President Dick Cheney, completed Best Picture nominated films this week. I didn’t purposefully place this movie last. That’s the way it worked out with Regal’s viewing schedule. However, I admit this film appealed to me the least.

I’m not a political person. I say this with apologies to my grandson Dayan, who is a political science major at University of Missouri. There’s nothing wrong with political movies. They just aren’t anywhere near my favorite genre. Nonetheless, when I commit to watching all of the Best Picture films, I keep that intention even though it only matters to me.

As usual, I find that I learn from the movies I would not watch otherwise.

Movie Review Vice

Vice Cast

Vice stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, Tyler Perry and Jesse Plemons. Written and directed by Adam McKay, this historical drama carries an R rating, for moderate language and adult situations, and has a run time of 2 hours and 12 minutes.

Vice is nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Adams, Best Supporting Actor for Rockwell, Best Actor for Bale and Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, both for McKay.

Movie Review Vice

The Cheneys

Spanning four decades, Vice focuses on the life and political career of Dick Cheney (Bale) and his wife Lynne (Adams). As a young couple, Dick struggles to find his purpose in life. He drinks too much. He works menial jobs. After a second DUI charge, resulting in an overnight stay in jail, Lynne gives Dick “the” speech. “Get your life together…or I walk away.”

Fast forward a few years and Dick becomes a congressional intern for Donald Rumsfeld (Carell). The two become very close, working together on a variety of projects. Now a father to two daughters, Liz (Rabe) and Mary (Pill), Dick pursues a career that makes his wife proud.

Rumsfeld gets sent away, becoming an ambassador, due to conflicts with the Nixon administration. And then Watergate happens and Nixon is out. As one of the Republicans not involved in the scandal, Cheney promotes to Secretary of Defense, in the Gerard Ford White House, and then moves up to Chief of Staff.

Cheney researches the legal theory called the Unitary Executive Theory, which states, simply put, that anything the president does is legal because he or she is the president. Carter wins the next election, and Cheney is out of a job.

Movie Review Vice

Running Mate

Back home in Wyoming, Dick runs for Congress. However, during his campaign, he experiences his first heart attack. Lynne campaigns on his behalf, and ultimately, Dick wins.

After Bush’s presidency, Cheney considers running for president. His numbers are low however. And his younger daughter, Mary, has come out as gay. Rather than risk his supportive relationship with her, Cheney opts out of running. Instead, he becomes the CEO of Halliburton, choosing involvement in the corporate world for many years, until George W. Bush (Rockwell) calls him.

Initially, Dick refuses the role of vice president, to GW Bush’s president. Lynne cautions her husband, calling the vice presidency a “nothing job”. Talking to George later, Dick asks for more than a typical vice president role. He wants to oversee major departments. And he wants his daughter Mary off limits. George agrees.

After a close race in the 2000 election, George Bush and Dick Cheney win the White House.

Movie Review Vice

The White House Years

Once settled in, Dick has total oversight, including receiving intelligence briefings before the President. He gets tax breaks for the wealthy and places key personnel throughout the administration.

Tragedy strikes the United States on 9/11. Cheney makes decisions during that time that no other vice president has ever made. Post 9/11 Cheney and Rumsfeld focus in on Iraq and Sadaam Hussein, even though Colin Powell (Perry) wants to gather information on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Eventually the American people are convinced Saddam needs to be stopped. The war in Iraq begins.

Throughout these years, Cheney quietly moves forward, with the tenacity of a bull. The war doesn’t go as expected. ISIS comes into existence. War crimes are uncovered. Donald Rumsfeld takes the heat and is removed from office. And Dick Cheney’s heart gives out, literally, over and over again.

Finally, told there is no hope for recovery, Cheney faces death unless a heart donor can be found. In a bizarre twist in the film, one comes available.

The film concludes with an interview with Dick Cheney, in which the character breaks the fourth wall in the movie and looks directly at the audience. After being asked to defend his practices while in office, Cheney replies that he is fine with judgment and incrimination. He did what needed to be done so that our loved ones could sleep at night. We chose him. He did what we asked.

Movie Review Vice

My Thoughts on Vice

The characterizations of these familiar politicians is amazing in this film. Christian Bale is unrecognizable, after gaining 40 pounds for the role, shaving his head and bleaching his eyebrows. He portrays Cheney so well that I forgot, frequently, that the man on the screen was not the former vice president. I’m reminded of Gary Oldham’s turn as Winston Churchill last year in Darkest Hour.

Amy Adams is marvelous as Lynne Cheney, who is a powerful person as well. All of the actors were carefully chosen for the roles they stepped into, and that care is very evident.

In a unique role, Jesse Plemons serves as narrator. The camera cuts to him between scenes as he explains what’s going on. His connection to Cheney is revealed, in a surprising way, near the end of the movie.

Movie Review VicePerry and Carell as Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld, respectively.

My take aways from Vice are these:

It’s not just the one who holds power that influences events. It’s who has control. And sometimes the quietest among us are doing the most to create major shifts.

Vice is another film that is difficult to classify. Is it humor or drama, satire or smear? Perhaps it’s a character study of Dick Cheney. Or perhaps it’s more a commentary on the American people. I wrote at the beginning of this post that I am not a political person. At the end of Vice, I recognized the detriment in holding that belief. If these events in Vice happened, and fact checking shows that some of the scenes are creditable and some are not, then it is on me to be more aware, more involved.

It’s on all of us.

Vice opens up my awareness. It makes me want to study who people say they are and what their actions show about them, in the political arena. Vice possesses the potential to sharply divide people. But what if its true intention is to wake us up?

Working for Donald Rumsfeld, young Dick Cheney asks him, sincerely,

“What do we believe in?”

It’s a great question for Vice to leave me with. What do I believe in?

Movie Review Vice

It’s Oscar Time!

I’m minutes away from the 91st Academy Awards. Curried lentils are bubbling in the slow cooker. Vegan snickerdoodle cookies and a hot cup of herbal tea await. I’ll be blogging through the awards show and post a second late post tonight.

Here are all my reviews, for the eight Best Picture Nominated films:

Download or rent Vice on Amazon Prime Video HERE or purchase the DVD

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Movie Review: The Favourite

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One look at the title of this film, The Favourite, and you know by the spelling of the second word that this story is connected to England. This Best Picture nominated movie is based upon the brief and somewhat obscure reign of Queen Anne, of England.

My mother, an avid history buff, accompanied me to this second to the last movie, during Oscar week.

Movie Review The Favourite

The Favourite Cast

This biographical drama, with comedic overtones, stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicolas Hoult, James Smith and Mark Gatiss. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite carries an R rating, for language and sexuality, and has a run time of 1 hour and 59 minutes.

The Favourite is nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Colman, Best Supporting Actress for Stone and Weisz and Best Director for Lanthimos.

Movie Review The Favourite

Queen Anne of England

It’s early in the 18th century, and England nears the end of a war with France. The reigning monarch, Queen Anne (Colman) is frail in body and mind and fraught with anxieties.

The government is divided, with Robert Harley (Hoult) and Sidney Godolphin (Smith) leading the opposing parties. Their grappling for control wearies the Queen, who relies on her companion for support and guidance. Sarah (Weisz) and Anne grew up as childhood friends. As the queen’s health declines, she depends more and more on Sarah to attend crucial meetings and carry out royal duties.

Sarah Churchill is intelligent, in a cunning way, and very much in alignment with Godolphin, who supports continued war with France. Her husband, John, Duke of Marlborough (Gatiss), leads the troops as the war winds down.

Movie Review The Favourite

Abigail Arrives

Sarah’s status with the Queen shifts when Abigail (Stone) arrives. Abigail is Sarah’s cousin. Her life took a downturn years ago, leaving her destitute, fallen in society, and seeking employment. Although she begins as a scullery maid in the castle, Abigail quickly works her way into the Queen’s favour. Anne suffers horribly from gout. When inflammation creates swelling, sores and tremendous pain, Abigail applies a soothing herbal poultice.

Abigail’s new position as the Queen’s personal assistant alarms Sarah, and the competition between the women begins. Sneaking into Queen Anne’s bedchamber one night, Abigail makes a shocking discovery. Sarah and the Queen are clandestine lovers.

Movie Review The Favourite

Who is the Favourite?

As political strife heats up, Queen Anne finds herself caught between opposing parties, and between equally opposing women. Sarah continues to urge the Queen toward war. Abigail, who aligns with Harley and peace with France, appears more sympathetic and helpful toward the Queen.

Both women know that being Queen Anne’s favourite brings power and prestige and wealth. For Abigail, it even brings an arranged marriage that will restore her place in society.

As the Queen’s health continues to deteriorate, and her mood plummets, Abigail and Sarah vie for the coveted title of Favourite. And there can only be one.

Movie Review The Favourite

My Thoughts on The Favourite

I attend the Best Picture nominated films with as little foreknowledge as possible. That way, I experience the movie and the story with a fresh perspective and no expectations. I’ve seen many historical films about England’s queens and kings, however, I knew very little about this particular monarch.

The Favourite is unique, in that it includes rich complex characters, an abundance of humor, and modern elements including clever camera work and music that is often jarring. Perhaps the best classification for this movie is dark comedy with historical overtones!

Queen Anne is the central figure and the movie revolves around her. She alternates between being reasonable and competent, and lost and child-like, wailing with despair. Her despondency and fragility is better understood when it is revealed that the 17 rabbits she keeps as pets in her bedchamber represent the children she lost. Losing one child fractures the soul. Imagine what losing 17 does.

And although he is not mentioned in the movie, the Queen had recently lost her spouse as well. With no surviving children, Anne is the last monarch of the House of Stuart.

Olivia Colman deserves her Oscar nomination. Her portrayal is nuanced and compelling to watch. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are equally captivating in their roles. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see The Favourite, before tomorrow night’s Academy Awards.

Movie Review The Favourite

One More Best Picture Movie to Review

I watched Vice tonight, completing the list of films. Watch for that review tomorrow.

Here are the nominees. Click the links for the reviews.

Rent The Favourite on Amazon Prime Video HERE.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.